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SA Partridge

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Something a little different

I’ve been gathering my thoughts recently in readiness to take the plunge into my next novel. I have basically made my home into a nice little hidey-hole filled with random bits of paper and notebooks onto which I have scribbled various parts of storyline and dialogue. When one has resolved oneself to do one thing you often find yourself doing the complete opposite. In my case, instead of writing I have found myself reading a great many books. I would like to mention a few that have stood out for me and that have proven to be a great source of inspiration as well as procrastination.

The Ladies of Grace Adieu and other Stories by Susanna Clarke
Susanna Clarke’s writing is like proper morning tea in an English countryside. I have so much respect for her talent as a writer that I find myself recommending her novels to almost everyone I meet. The Ladies of Grace Adieu is structured as a series of English legends centered around magic and fairy folk. The book sees the return of familiar characters from her previous novel, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrel (another personal favourite) and draws you in from the very first sentence. It’s one of those books you feel like you have had since childhood.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Set during Nazi occupied Germany, this book follows the life of a child who is sent to live with a foster family in Munich. She is the book thief referred to in the title and the books she steals mark major turning points in the story. What makes the story special is the narrator in the story is Death himself who sees the world very differently to the people who inhabit the world. It is beautifully written, like art on paper. I was thoroughly touched at how delicately the author handled certain scenes. The way he described things through the personification of Death’s eye’s was truly remarkable. This book is amazing.

Arthur and George – Julian Barnes
I found this book by chance in a little bookshop in town for R40. It’s a wonderful read and its so well written. I confess that I haven’t quite finished it yet but I’m almost there and I’m enjoying every word. Julian Barnes is a genius at writing irony and comic timing that I find myself smiling despite where it is I’m reading at any given moment. The story is about the case that made Sir Arthur Conan Doyle choose a life of detective work. It’s a magic read. Grab it.


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